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Billed as the true story of a French Jewish Spy
Billed as the true story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany, Cohn's memoir is almost beyond belief and is the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of

Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma
Holocaust Survivor Marthe Cohn 

Tuesday, February 5, 

Jan 30, 2019
by Houston Porter


The Chabad Jewish Center of Petaluma will host Holocaust survivor Marthe Cohn on Tuesday, February 5, at 7 p.m. at Petaluma’s Santa Rosa Junior College campus, in memory of the 80th anniversary of “Kristallnacht.” Tickets are available at Kristallnacht was the infamous night in 1938 when Nazis took to the streets of Germany, vandalizing Jewish homes, schools, and businesses, torching synagogues, and arresting and murdering Jews simply for being Jewish. 

Marthe Cohn’s book “Behind Enemy Lines” is her incredible story of suffering, bravery, and determination through not only the Nazi invasion and occupation of her home country of France, but also her work as a nurse in the Far East after the war, as the Vietnamese and French went to war. Now 98 years old, this event is a chance to meet a living legend, war hero, and proud member of the Jewish community. 

Billed as the true story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany, her memoir is almost beyond belief and is the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of. “Marthe Cohn was a beautiful young Jewish woman living just across the German border in France when Hitler rose to power. Her family sheltered Jews fleeing the Nazis, including Jewish children sent away by their terrified parents. But soon her homeland was also under Nazi rule. As the Nazi occupation escalated, Marthe’s sister was arrested and went to Auschwitz. The rest of her family was forced to flee to the south of France. Always a fighter, Marthe joined the French Army. 

As a member of the intelligence service of the French First Army, Marthe fought valiantly to retrieve needed inside information about Nazi troop movements by slipping behind enemy lines, utilizing her perfect German accent and blond hair to pose as a young German nurse who was desperately trying to obtain word of a fictional fiancé. By traveling throughout the countryside and approaching troops sympathetic to her plight, risking death every time she did so, she learned where they were going next and was able to alert Allied commanders.”

When, at the age of eighty, Marthe Cohn was awarded France’s highest military honor, the Medaille Militaire, not even her children knew to what extent this modest woman had faced death daily while helping defeat the Nazi empire. At its heart, this remarkable memoir is the tale of an ordinary human being who, under extraordinary circumstances, became the hero her country her to be.”

A Night of Shakespeare Shorts at the Phoenix Theater on April 6 will give local artists a chance to win cash prizes and a little bit of fame for performances of their favorite Shakespeare short. However, the deadline for applying to participate is February 15, 2019 at, so act fast.

Participants will not only get to perform on the same stage that has hosted Red Hot Chili Peppers, Huey Lewis, Enrico Caruso, Santana, and even Harry Houdini, but will have 10 minutes to do their best to win the awards for Best Scene ($500), Best Dramatic Scene ($100), and Best comedic Scene ($100.) The scenes will be interspersed with music performed by local musicians. 

The Petaluma Art Center is currently exhibiting The National Parks Plein Air Project, through March 23. This magnificent exhibit highlights the work of Petaluma painter and owner of Fassbinder Gallery and Atelier frame shop on Western Avenue, next to Ray’s Deli and Tavern, Mary Fassbinder. “Plein air” is French for “outdoors” and represents a style of painting done outdoors, and in plain light, instead within a studio, where academic rules often lead to cookie cutter results. 

Fassbinder is an experienced plein air painter and several years ago, decided she wanted to make a difference with through her art. Because of the style, her works are rarely large, not only because she has to haul all of her equipment out to the site, but because changing light throughout the day, as well from day to day, makes it quite challenging to paint larger canvases. Additionally, Fassbinder often only had a single day to visit particular parks. 

Her favorite National Park is Michigan’s Isle Royale, in large part because it was her first. She finished her three-year project with a painting of the St. Louis Arch, which was just added to the national registry as Gateway Arch National Park, the 60th, and most recently added park in our National Park protectorate. 

Tickets for Stemple Creek Ranch’s Farm to Table Dinner are on-sale now for the Saturday, March 30 feast. We have attended this dinner for the past several years and always enjoy the great food and wine, the locale, and meeting the new friends seating around us. Paired up again, Matt Elias and Laine Ayre of The Bodega – CA food truck will handle the food while Barber Cellars will pair their wines perfectly as always. 

Petaluma Perspective by Houston Porter



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